SYDNEY, NSW — Professor Chris Dickman of the University of Sydney has revised his estimate of the number of animals killed in bushfires in Australia to more than 800 million animals, but he says it will grow to over a billion once you add the impact of the devastation through starvation, dehydration or habitat loss. 

According to the university, several weeks ago Professor Dickman, from the department of Faculty of Science, estimated that 480 million animals would be killed by the fires. With the fires still burning and growing, he updated those numbers to over a billion.

The numbers include mammals, birds, and reptiles, but does do not include frogs, insects, and other invertebrates. 

Dickman stated, "What we're seeing are the effects of climate change. Sometimes, it's said that Australia is the canary in the coal mine with the effects of climate change being seen here most severely and earliest… We're probably looking at what climate change may look like for other parts of the world in the first stages in Australia at the moment."

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Professor Chris Dickman works in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney and has over 30 years of experience working on the ecology, conservation and management of Australian mammals.

Dickman was President of the Australian Mammal Society and of the Royal Zoological Society of NSW, past Chair of the NSW Scientific Committee, and Chair of the Australian Marsupial and Monotreme Specialist Group for the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

Professor Dickman has written or edited 16 books and monographs and authored a further 480 journals articles and book chapters.